Road Trip


“How was your trip?”
Well, I think, not a complete success:
I haven’t met that someone who will care
so deeply they want to know…
But, if you are he, I answer:
I begin by stopping
the endless rearrangements
of my melancholy (even sadness is hard to leave
when you know her so well…)
Finally to the car; it comes alive beneath me,
and I scream with the radio, pretending I sing.
I think of sex, and Freud, but it’s more…
it’s life, after months spent nearly dead.
I denied myself sleep, and my children tiem to ramble,
I let Medicine grow inside like some monster,
til I collapsed, empty and answerless.
But something was alive inside, and trying to sing…
             until the signal died.
No matter; “Whaddayaknow” comes on…
laughing my way past 15 towns, and when it’s over I realize
I miss the verbal play with those who suffer too…
hoping to recover from spilling out my thoughts
             that it could be more.
A little later I stop at the bookstore
that opened when my life began.
I try to converse, but I’ve forgotten the dance;
I leap, and twirl, but land on Mike’s toes,
and retreat with book in hand, heading South again.
One hamburger, three cokes, half bags of chips…
Over a thousand miles, and I am tired, so tired.
The bathrooms, you can imagine,
and staying awake, when the radio sleeps.
My only hope of reviving: a sticker that says
“Bite me,” and I wonder
where he wants my teeth.
The second day starts slow, feels mellow,
classical music plays. Flutes speak, and
I think of old friends, calling forth notes
with fingers and wrists and neck and lips…
the loftier passages come from the body
as much as from the flute.
Soon, I see my baby; she’s excited, we hug
Then, nearly at once, she says,
“I’m almost as tall as you!”
I’m speechless to see, she measures herself on me…
The day is long, and the next one too
but we leave the road to visit Rose…
The poor baby is so hot!
I hold the warmsoftness while we talk,
and her mother listens to…me?
And in that instant, I think I see
why I learned about fever, why I want to do this,
as I look in her eyes, and touch her soft hair,
and again feel the fear: Do I know what to do?
We finally reach home, and I try to forget
all the hours I’ve spent with my thoughts.
Reflection is over, the pace picks up,
and life (so we call it) goes on…

Laura Hans, Class of 2001